Nameless, a New Free Mobile Responsive Genesis WordPress Child Theme by Mónica Guerra Leiria

I feel the need to comment that this is truly a smashing new design.  Often first efforts are not as well done as what Monica has shared with her first theme, but it is beautiful. Monica’s talent and attention to web design shows in many elements of this superb theme. And it is even free! So just download Nameless and use it.

Nameless is a free mobile responsive Genesis Child Theme

Nameless is a free mobile responsive Genesis Child Theme with:

  • a widgeted home page,
  • 7 color styles,
  • 6 layout options,
  • fixed width,
  • custom header and
  • threaded comments.

This is a great Genesis WordPress theme, very usable for many businesses and suits Photographers ideally well for both a website and blog.

GET THE THEME!

* Please note that Genesis child themes require the Genesis Framework.

WordPress websites for photographers, even sites with strong SEO, can also be elegant and beautiful

I want to introduce a new, clean, minimalist site recently completed for a photographer Dennis Grimes of College Station Texas. His new website fully follows Google’s best practice advice for mobile sites, is HTML5 and CSS3 feature ready, plus the best SEO capabilities. Take a look –

dennis grimes photography homepage wedding and event photography for Colloege station and bryan tx

One of the difficult issues to work with in a minimalist style is the structural design limitations around optimization for search marketing. It is important to keep the page appearance spare and lightweight so that it looks good and it loads fast. At the same time it needs to contain enough content and links to index well. And it helps if at least some of the content will change frequently to engage the search engines and keep the site fresh. New home page content from time to time will reduce the site’s bounce rate. And you can never tell what will appeal to an individual visitor.

That also relates to the reasons for the random home page images. The image measures 1600 pixels wide which makes for a large file size. To have the page load and display multiple image files that size, such as would be used for a slider, would take a lot of time. By making the image random only one image is needed keeping the page fast, but it is a different image each time the page is loaded, keeping the page interesting and engaging.

For the Galleries on the site we used the premium TN3 Gallery which even supports “swipe” movements on smartphones and tablets. It gives Dennis’ photography website an all new look with full support for mobile devices. Site features which provide a significant competitive advantage in the College Station / Bryan market. And of course it has the necessary integrated Blog and blog posts, excerpts of the most recent four posts are also displayed on the home page.

All together the SEO capabilities just work! Dennis’ photography website was down for most of the year due to a very destructive hack. For most of that time the URL was just blank, no content, no links, nothing at all to keep the page rank and SEO that had been created over years. Yet less than two weeks after the new site went live Dennis’ site is appearing on the first page of Google searches for many of his marketing/product keywords.

Dennis’ site is built upon the StudioPress Genesis framework, which means that it is always easy and free, to update to the latest WordPress features and security releases keeping his site current as the features of HTML5/CSS3 evolve and Google makes changes to their criteria. And you can even “reskin” a Genesis Framework site at anytime choosing from large number of low-cost child themes which preserves the investment in your site. Not to overlook, a WordPress site can be used as the improved landing/splash, blog  and important content pages for the ultimate in BluDomain enhancement and SEO, while keeping the BluDomain features you like.

Does your website or blog do and have all that? Want it to? Want to learn more, we can even do a screen share to walk you through the differences between what you might have and how this type of site works. Just comment below, email or call!

New WordPress based true mobile responsive website and blog for Black Studios Photography

Just finished a new WordPress CMS based mobile responsive website for Black Studios Photography. Black Studios’ new website layout fully follows Google’s best practice/advice for mobile sites, is HTML5 and CSS3 feature ready, plus the best SEO. Take a look – http://blackstudios.com

Or to see how a true mobile responsive site works across five different display sizes, all at once, just visit –
http://resultzdigital.com/responsive/?http://blackstudios.com .

Now does your website or blog do that? Want it to? Just call or send us email!

Websites with true mobile responsive design, like Black Studios, have significant advantages in both search engine ranking and search marketing. As well as more Adwords options and savings.

And Black Studios still has their old BluDomain flash galleries, for now. Though that it is likely to move to a true HTML5 mobile responsive premium photo gallery like TN3 Gallery, some time soon. (With way better SEO, too.)

Have any questions about mobile responsive or HTML5 options, leave a comment or contact.  We are excited about this new site technology.Black Studios Photography website screen capture

Two great affordable premium display responsive Photo/Image Galleries for WordPress by TN3 and Raygun

Raygun’s WordPress Portfolio Slideshow Pro and TN3’s Photo Gallery for WordPress plugins both offer a great way to give a WordPress based website state of the art attractive photo galleries with out the limitations of of other WP plugins, Flash galleries or other similar website platforms.Raygun Portfolio Slideshow and TN3 Gallery for WordPress Plugins

Before  jumping into these two exciting WordPress image gallery options, let’s do a little history review.  In the earlier days of WordPress (2007) if one wanted to display a gallery of many images it was natural to install Alex Rabe’,s much-needed at the time, NextGEN Gallery plugin.  It made up for many of the shortcomings of “early” WordPress whenever there was the need to upload and display many images in a page or a post, and it became the most popular gallery plugin.  Fortunately WordPress has become much improved now offering many features to better manage and display photo image galleries.  But the rapid changes in WordPress has made it difficult for legacy plugins such as NextGEN to stay current, although Alex did well with the time he had available (NextGEN was/is free GPL) Recently Alex has transferred NextGEN to Photocrati and I look forward to what will happen to make NextGEN more current with the changing needs of website owners for image galleries that can excite website visitors.

But we do not have to wait for changes in NextGEN and its third-party add-on extension plugins our own sites. The TN3 and Raygun premium galleries are ready to install today and will give your website a competitive advantage in appearance, utility and visitor marketing.

TM3 Gallery for WordPressThe TN3 Gallery for WordPress is based upon the proven TN3 jQuery script, but offers so much more than just a script.  With the release of the recent upgrade (seems like almost a full rewrite) to the WordPress plugin and significant price reduction the plugin merits serious consideration for your WordPress website image galleries.  The examples of the website show the valuable combination of display appearance and action of the gallery plugin.  Plus it comes with five easy to select custom skins plus a full screen display option. Not only will it support and display images it can also display video files.  And is now device display responsive so your galleries will be easy to view and use across all types of smartphones and tablets, including iOS and Android. For more information about the capabilities of TN3 Gallery take a look at this more complete feature list. There is also an informative video provided.

If you are familiar with NextGEN much of the user interface will seem familiar. Like NextGEN, TN3 Gallery keeps your images is galleries separate from the rest of your WordPress media library.  This allows (or at least did in earlier versions of WordPress) easy repeat use of galleries inserted in multiple posts or pages.  I find even today that this way of managing gallery images can simplify bulk file modifications like changing watermarks on gallery displayed images. And like NextGEN you can group different galleries into albums.

With the recent upgrades, robust feature set, good support and the new lower price of $67.00 it is a great option for your WordPress galleries and fairly priced considering the powerful feature set and its easy to use options interface. TN3 even offers a free “lite” version so you can explore and try before you buy.

Portfolio Slideshow by RaygunRaygun’s Portfolio Slideshow Pro  is also fairly new to WordPress, but don’t let that concern you it is almost a year old and has had upgrades. More importantly in this situation it also means that the plugin can offer you the important features for marketing to today’s website visitors, without being constrained by keeping old code for large numbers of legacy users with old versions of WP. Dalton, the developer of Portfolio Slideshow describes it like this, “Portfolio Slideshow Pro is a powerful and intuitive WordPress slideshow plugin that makes it easy to add a beautiful image slideshow gallery to any post or page. It’s mobile-friendly, easy to style, and includes options for thumbnails, carousels, autoplay, lightbox integration, audio player integration, sidebar widgets, captions, and much more.”

Unlike TN3, Portfolio Slideshow builds upon WordPress’ native media and gallery managers.  This means the code can benefit by Automattic’s expertise and WP roadmap, enhances the plugins compatibility with WP compliant themes and even be a little lighter and faster. By using WordPress’ recent addition of custom post types Portfolio Slideshow Pro is able to create galleries that can be managed and “reused” accross your website just like TN3 (or NextGEN). Another feature  desired by some website owners migrating from BluDomain and other Flash type websites for photgraphers is any easy way to include a MP3 file that can play while a site visitor views a particular gallery.  But the to me one of the coolest features of Portfolio Slideshow Pro is its new Swipe-Mode option.  This means not only are its galleries mobile responsive but they can even be easily navigated by iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets! There are many more details and examples of Portfolio Slideshow Pro in action on the Raygun webiste. There is a free “lite” version, Portfolio Slideshow, in the WordPress plugin repository. Raygun has even created a helpful video demonstration –

Raygun provides good support, great documentation and helpful forum that is active and can serve as a knowledge-base providing quick answers.  At $18 it seems a bargain, but it does not not include the “Album” like features of TN3 and NextGEN.  (but wait there is more :-D ) Raygun has another WordPress plugin, Portfolio Framework that meets and exceeds most Album type options.  The Portfolio Framework provides a lot of great features that are unique and does a superb job of placing and presenting multiple galleries.  As well as providing many touches that your website visitors will enjoy. Like the Portfolio Slideshow Pro there are examples and a demo video for the Framework on the Raygun website. The cost of Portfolio Framework plugin is only $28.00 and if you buy them together there is a small discount, so the total cost is a maximum of $46.00, making it a very competitive value.

In summary I do not have a favorite between these two options by Raygun or TN3.  They are both my favorite gallery plugins for polished WordPress websites marketing photographers or websites with similar image display needs. I almost never consider any other premium gallery plugin, the features and reliability of these two is that good. I like and use them both on different sites as the details of each plugin fit best the marketing objectives and target market of the website. Importantly to me both plugins are reliable and work well in most WordPress themes.  They both have good support and forums.  Both are mobile responsive. And the feature set of either one can make a website fun to browse images on and give the website a polished and unique appearance. I would choose the one that “fits” best your style and site, independent of the price since the prices are comparable. Both are affordable and the effective difference is modest. Choose what you like for your work and website.

If you want more insight or any assistance with the gallery plugins mentioned in this post or developing a website that would use either one please feel free to give me a call or email.

Two Favorite Free WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins (ones that you may not be aware of)

For many years I used NextGen to create, manage and display photo galleries in WordPress. It was and is a very good gallery plugin. But then WordPress’ native image tools became much much better following the version 3.1 and subsequent updates. And I like being able keep all the images together in WordPress’ native media manager and use just one media library system. It also makes it easier to maintain optimal image SEO across all of a website.

For that reason I use NextGen much less these days and instead reach for either Shiba Gallery or Gallery To Slideshow. Now a little about each.

Shiba Gallery:

“The Shiba Gallery Plugin allows you to display a variety of javascript galleries within your WordPress blog. All you need to do is specify the type of gallery you want in your regular WordPress gallery shortcode.

The Shiba Gallery is very flexible and can render post, page, and gallery objects, in addition to image attachments.”

You gotta love Shiba Gallery’s flexibility, plus the huge library of included javascript galleries, particularly the ease of use of noobslide (a favorite), and that is can present even pages and posts in a slider. All within the native WordPress media manager. In using this plugin over the last almost two years, I have yet to be presented any conflicts caused by Shiba Gallery. It is a very tight well crafted gallery plugin. I wish I was in the WordPress plugin repository, but it is not. So you don’t see it all over the WordPress website universe, which can be good if you want to make your galleries look a little unique.

Gallery to Slideshow:

“Gallery to Slideshow converts the built-in gallery into a simple and responsive slideshow. It uses the FlexSlider jQuery image slider, and requires zero configuration from the user.”

UPDATE – (9/26/12) COULD NO LONGER FIND THE PLUGIN AT WORDPRESS, BUT THE GALLERY TO SLIDESHOW PLUGIN CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM GITHUB AND MANUALLY INSTALLED – https://github.com/sksmatt/gallery-to-slideshow. I am leaving the WP repository links in place in case the author returns it to WordPress.  If you do not want to download from GitHub, suggest using the free version of Portfolio Slideshow – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/portfolio-slideshow/

For 2012 I am trying to make all my websites fully responsive to the device and display used by the visitor. With the huge growth of all types and sizes of mobile devices, and mobile users increased likelihood of purchasing, and Google’s advice to use only one domain (no mobile domains or subdomains) I believe responsive design is the best way to go! So the relatively new Gallery to Slideshow is getting a lot of use on the sites I am creating for photographers and others. It is simple and easy to use. And presents a good-looking fully functional gallery for Windows, Mac, Android or iOS visitors regardless of the browser and display size.

Although Shiba has many great and attractive features and is very reliable, the growth of mobile and the related marketing advantages has made Gallery to Slideshow my current “reach for first” short list WordPress gallery plugin. And I hope that Shiba will someday add responsive css.

Below are a couple of quick screen shots from the same site/page using Gallery to Slideshow, one with the browser at about 1140px width, and one at less at 400px width. You are welcome to visit the webpage gallery yourself and test it on different devices. If you have any display or sizing comments or other favorite responsive image gallery plugins, please let me know in the comments.

full width responsive photo gallery screen capture

 

WordPress responsive photo gallery at less than 400px

You’re going to love WordPress 3.3’s new media uploader

WordPress 3.3 should be released in a very few days.  It is a great version and I reccomend upgrading to it.  I have been using the beta releases of WordPress 3.3 for a few weeks now and have found it almost trouble-free.  The attention to detail of the WordPress team is better than ever.

The best new feature is the HTML5 media uploader which allows multiple image uploading from almost any type of device; desktops, laptops, tablets (including iPads) and smartphones (including iPhones).

Here is what the WordPress team has to say about the new media uploader features:

File Type Detection

We’ve streamlined things! Instead of needing to click on a specific upload icon based on your file type, now there’s just one. Once your file is uploaded, the appropriate fields will be displayed for entering information based on the file type.

Drag-and-Drop Media Uploader

Adding photos or other files to posts and pages just got easier. Drag files from your desktop and drop them into the uploader. Add one file at a time, or many at once.

More File Formats

We’ve added the rar and 7z file formats to the list of allowed file types in the uploader.

In  my judgement what really makes it a major improvement for many of my clients, particularly photographers, is the Drag-and-Drop Media Uploader.  It is major improvement to WordPress making it easy and reliable to upload multiple images at a time and works in all types of devices, even iPads!  While it looks like some older uploaders that use Flash or Java the new WordPress uploader is a creation of HTML5.  Rather than try to describe how it works, let me show you.

play

This makes it even easier to add images to WordPress galleries than Flash sites like Bludomain.

 

Upgrading to WordPress 3.0 on Bludomain hosting

WordPress recently released a major upgrade, WordPress 3.0 and many Bludomain website owners also use their website to self-host WordPress.  Unfortunately upgrading to WordPress 3.0 on Bludomain hosting can sometimes present a frustrating problem, it freezes or you get an “memory size exhausted” error.  The upgrade is important due to better security, speed and some great new features, but most Bludomain hosting accounts have a 32MB PHP memory resource limit which can prevent the upgrade. WordPress 3.0 has grown large enough with the new features and the new Twenty-Ten theme that it requires a larger PHP memory resource limit to upgrade.  But once you can get it upgraded, WordPress 3.0 will make the needed adjustments.

Fortunately there is a plugin that you can install in your current WordPress site that will bump the memory resource sufficiently to overcome the limitation and allow you to upgrade to WP 3.0 simply.  The plugin is called WP memory bump and it was created by the WordPress development team to deal with the issue.

So here is how you can upgrade to WordPress 3.0 with Bludomain hosting:

1) Backup your current WordPress files (the wp-content folder is all you need to copy) and backup your database.  If you don’t have the WP DB backup plugin installed now is a good time to do it.  It makes the database backup a cinch.

2) Deactivate all your plugins.

3) Upload, install and activate the WP memory bump plugin. It should be the only plugin that is active.

4) Proceed with the WordPress 3.0 automatic update.

5) When the WordPress 3.0 update is complete, proceed to update your plugins in their current deactivated status.

6) You can now begin to reactivate your plugins. Most widely used plugins now support WordPress 3.0, but if you make use of any relatively obscure plugins it might be best to activate them one at a time.  That way if there is a problem, you will know which plugin to suspect.

7) Deactivate and delete the WP memory bump plugin.  You will not need it again.

You should now have a completed fully up to date operational WordPress 3.0 site installation.  But, feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or problems.

Black Studios Photography – Success Improving Bludomain Search Results and Site Traffic

Mike and ElizaBeth Black of Black Studios are always working to enhance their services and business. So recently Mike set out to further increase the search results rank and site traffic of his Bludomain website (which is also hosted by Bludomain). Mike had worked meticulously to improve the search results of his standard Bludomain site following all the advice he came across. Some it it worked, for a while, and he would see his search rank improve a little only to then begin slipping after a a few days/weeks.

Then he came across my blog posts on the “structural” way to greatly improve Bludomain by adding a WordPress based landing page to replace the standard Bludomain splash. And then adding new content using WordPress posts and pages for things like a better blog and price, contact and about pages. Taking advantage of his existing domain and Bludomain gallery site, but putting the rest of the content into a from which is much much better for search engines.

So we went to work. Mike had me add the Kertesz II for Photographers WordPress based site to his Bludomain hosting account. This allowed hem to work on adding content and moving logos and things to the WordPress based site while leaving the existing Bludomain site uninterrupted. The when he was ready, as part of the services I includ, I switched his new landing page to replace the old splash page, did some other adjustments, menu changes and tweeks including setting up the new contact form and voila the new Black Studios website.

The results -

Within days Mike’s search results rankings moved up 2-3 pages in Google, and continues to improve. Mike also reports his site traffic is up about 200 visitors a month. And this is the site’s new main page –

Send me an email and let me see if I might do the same for your Bludomain site.